The Chronicles of Narnia
Last night I watched the "The Chronicles of Narnia" with some friends. It was a magnificent and well-produced film based on C.S. Lewis' book "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe." C.S. Lewis created a land of magic and wonder called Narnia, and since then many readers (and now many who have seen and will see this movie) have discovered / will discover the wondrous world that exists beyond the back of the wardrobe. It's about the story of four siblings - Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. They find their way through an old wardrobe into the world of Narnia. There, they unite with Aslan ('the Lion King') to fight the White Witch and save Narnia from perpetual darkness.
I really like the film, and can identify with all four children at various times:
- Peter - is afraid even though he has got what it takes to be the King - an honour given by Aslan.
- Susan - is cautious, doubtful and boring at times.
- Edmund - is disobedient, pretentious and proud.
- Lucy - with child-like faith, shares her spiritual experiences with others, is loving and compassionate.
The symbolic meanings in the book / film touch me a lot: Aslan's sacrificial love, the simple but powerful faith of Lucy, the power of the sword (sword of the Spirit), and the fact that once a king always a king (child of God) etc.
In His books, C.S. Lewis argued that humans long "to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own." We were made for awe. Unfortunately, the modern privileging of scientific fact as the "only" reliable type of truth often tries to push aside the competing truth claims of intuition and revelation. The longing for transcendence -- the desire of human nature to move beyond that nature into something beyond - will not be denied.
Some of my reflections from this film:
First, audience response suggests that most people want to believe in a world like Narnia -- they just lack the eyes to see the similarities between that world and our own. For example, the thought that someone might love them enough to die for them is the basis of many appealing and timeless romances -- how much better to discover that Someone already actually has.
Second, like Lucy, the believability of our story often rests on our credibility as tellers. We can only tell the story well only if we are passionately committed to it. Not everyone who loves Narnia will want Jesus -- but the connection some people may feel with Narnia may make it easier to introduce Jesus, and the fictional account of Aslan might (paradoxically) make discussions of Christ’s work to save us seem more present and real. Let the book, or the movie, do its work -- drawing people in and making them feel and think. Afterward the opportunity might arise to introduce your own story.
Yes my own story is a personal, gripping tale filled with temptations, evil deeds, a Suffering Savior and Triumphant Lord. It is a story in which I am a participant, fighting my own daily 'battles' while being transformed into the image of Christ. It will someday end with the final victory of good over evil.